Etsy Jam Episode 37: To Tag or to Title

In this episode, we talk about how you should put together your title and tags for the best SEO and which you should do first. We also discuss how the SEO grading in Marmalead works and what the TRUE meaning of keyword stuffing is. Spoiler alert – it has to do with turkey and gravy. Stick around for another great Etsy Jam feast.

 

There has been a discussion in our Facebook Group about how one should do their listings’ tags and titles. Eventually, it came down to two schools of thought. There are people who:

  • thinks that when you do your listing, you should do your titles first and then pick out what your tags will be from the keywords in your title
  • thinks that you should come up with all your keywords, put them as tags first, and then fit those into a title.

To Tag or to Title

If you start with finding the right keywords, it doesn’t really matter. If you want to take those keywords that you found and put them in your tags and then figure out your title – that’s okay. Or if you want to pick your keywords and put them in your title in an order that makes sense, and then putting those in your tags, that’s fine too. The ultimate and most important thing is to find the keywords first. Always start with finding quality keywords.

Related: The Quick and Dirty Guide to Finding Great Etsy Keywords


As long as we’re getting to the same spot at the end – which are keywords that end up in our tags and in our titles, it doesn’t matter how you get there. Whatever is easier for you and whatever works out for you. It doesn’t really make that much difference.

Targeting Keywords


You can have one target focus keyword. After that, you can have a number 2 focus keyword, number 3, and so on. You want this to happen because the front of your title is the strongest in relevancy search. The closer it is to the front, the better off you are and the stronger Etsy search thinks it is.

How does Listing Grades work inside Marmalead?

Tags in Title

It basically means “Tag and Title Match”. How many of your tags can you fit inside your title? If you have your title keywords written EXACTLY as it is in your tags, then Marmalead counts that as a tag and title match. That is good because Etsy likes to see that.

If it’s different; say you have “wedding dresses as a tag, but you have “wedding dress” in your title, then that’s not going to fit because it’s looking for your tag in your title. But to add to the confusion, if you had wedding dress as a tag, but wedding dresses” in your title – that would match. Because that’s a subset of “wedding dresses” so it would ‘technically’ find that phrase in your title.

In our grading, you don’t have to fit all 13 tags in your title because you are limited by the 140-characters. We only look for 7 tag and title matches for you to have a full score. Etsy is a different thing because they don’t really care how many you fit into your title. What they care about is if the tag exists in your title. Marmalead is just measuring how well you’re making use of that title to match as many tags as you can.

Recency

Renewing is part of the grading as well. People have asked us before “Why is my grade changing when I haven’t changed anything on my listing?”

The answer is: Your listing is getting older. While your listing is getting older, the market space is constantly having new listings being added to them. When people renew or one of their listings get sold, they are automatically renewed and go to the top too.

Keyword Stuffing Explained

There’s a lot of places where people talk about keyword stuffing. We see this in the Etsy Forums a lot. It comes up in our Facebook Group every now and then too. There are other thought leaders in the Etsy space that talks about keyword stuffing a lot and unfortunately, most times that we’ve seen it used, people are using that term incorrectly.

To best understand this, we should get back to before there was Etsy. Back in Google days. Way back in the day when they wanted to figure out how well a site was geared to talk about a specific keyword, there became a term known as “keyword stuffing”. Keyword stuffing back then was the practice of writing really spammy content in a sense that you take a single keyword and you just insert it in every sentence you possibly can even though it looks awful and doesn’t really add a lot of value. It’s just the same keyword over and over.

If you’re putting a bunch of different keywords in your title and tags – that’s not keyword stuffing. It sounds like it is because you’re ‘stuffing’ all those keywords in there, but you are not using the same keyword over and over so you’re good. If your tag and title looks like “Wedding dress wedding dress wedding dress wedding dress” – that’s keyword stuffing. If you’re targeting something ‘wedding’ related, and 4 of your keywords have the word ‘wedding’ in them, don’t be overly concerned because they’re not the same thing.

We don’t grade the quality of your keywords

Your letter grade does not involve the quality of your keyword. At least not yet. That’s why we show the Marma-meter scores in the Tags table. We score how that tag is performing as far as Engagement, Competition, and Category Page.

Things that sellers can optimize to impact their ranking

First, is deciding what keywords you are going to target. You can always cite which ones you want optimized for.

Secondly, you can make sure that you put them together in your shop in a way that makes Etsy want to find you to be the most relevant. That would be putting the focus keyword in the front of your title and in your tags and make sure that those two things match exactly.

Third, is renewing. You can renew your listings to stay on top of the search you are trying to target.

Things that you can’t control

When people search for you and then they visit your listing; whether or not they purchase. Although you can technically control the outcome because you can have great photos and compelling descriptions, the right price point, and making sure you’re targeting the right keywords. All of these techniques can help improve your conversion rate.

Related: 12 Simple Strategies to BOOST your Conversion Rate

In this episode, we talk about how you should put together your title and tags for the best SEO and which you should do first. We also discuss how the SEO grading in Marmalead works and what the TRUE meaning of keyword stuffing is. Spoiler alert - it has to do with turkey and gravy. Stick around for another great Etsy Jam feast.

Etsy Jam Episode 36: Do Less Be More

In this episode, Richie and I share our top goals for 2017 and encourage you to think about your own goals too. We also go a step further and talk about what systems and techniques you can use to make sure you have the best shot of achieving your goals.

Gordon’s goals this 2017

First Goal

My first one is to be healthier. The way I’m gonna measure that is by losing weight. My goal is to lose 50 lbs. throughout the year of 2017. It’s a big goal for me and I definitely have to work for it, but I have a year to do it and I think if I stay with it, I’ll be able to hit that at the end of the year.

It’s not the weight that really concerns me but feeling healthier and feeling that I am in better shape than I am right now. I’d like to get back to something where I feel I am in a healthier spot in my life and I’m going to measure that with weight.

Second Goal

Number 2 for me came from a video by Gary Vaynerchuk where he was encouraging people to set up a goal for themselves to make $20,170 this year. The whole idea is by starting to sell little things around your house that you’re not interested in and then you grow that up over the course of the year to finding things that have a higher value on eBay and selling these things online. It becomes more of a side hustle with the goal of making $20,170 through the course of the year. Why $20,170? Because it’s 2017.

My real goal is not really the money end of things – but I like the idea of purging and going through the stuff that I have in my house that is just taking up space. Watching the video got me thinking about all that stuff and how it would be nice to either sell or donate them.

Third Goal

In our Phone Apps Episode before, I shared with you that I made a mobile game with one of my really good friends, Alex. Along the same lines, about 40 years ago, my dad started developing this idea that he had for a game and he was actually working with Atari at the time. Unfortunately, before it got to the end of the cycle where they were going to release it and put it in stores – the whole program got scrapped. It never saw the light of day other than the people and the relatives of people in Atari who got to play with it.

He always thought that this could be a cool thing to build. When mobile phones became a thing, he thought it would be the perfect mobile game to play because it’s a little fun game you can do on the side without having to devote a bunch of your time to get something from it.

I don’t want to overshare here but my dad’s health isn’t the best; it’s been declining – so one of the things I want to focus on this year is building out this game and engaging him with it to make sure his vision of the game is in there while modernizing it so it is still relevant in today’s culture. My third goal is to complete and publish the game by the end of this year.

Richie’s goals this 2017

First Goal

Unsurprisingly, I fit into that 75% that also share Gordon’s first goal. I’d like to lose 25 lbs. and the reason goes back to the same – it’s not about what the internet says my number should be. I am between 6’2″ and 6’3″, I currently weight about 245 lbs. But if I lose 25 lbs., I’m going to be in that 220 lbs. range. It is still way higher based on BMI standards but based on the best shape I’ve ever been in, that’s the weight I weigh. So based on my personal experience, I feel that’s a really good one.

I think it’s true for so many things too. What’s the right amount of this? What should I be doing? Do you feel good about it? If you don’t feel good about it, it’s probably not the way you should be doing it.

Second Goal

I’d like to focus only on the things that matter. The things that are really valuable so I can be fully present in them. It goes back to being busy vs. having a full schedule.

Full schedule could be busy. That’s one way to look at it but sometimes, busy is just unorganized chaos. So if I want to do a lot of stuff, I want it to be intentional. Intentionally full schedule as opposed to having a lot of things going on but chaotic, unfocused, and plenty of unintentional noise.

What I’m trying to do is instead of doing a bunch of stuff in a bunch of little pieces, and not really being in it; I want to just focus on the things that matter and be present for it.

Third Goal

For my number 3 goal, I’d like to go with “learning to learn”. I think we all have a pretty basic understanding of learning things. Some of us are visual learners, auditory learners, kinesthetic learners, or even a combination of those. I find myself to be more of a kinesthetic learner – I definitely learn more by actually doing it.

I want to go beyond that. Learning to learn faster, learning to learn more thoroughly, and having more things stick – that’s my goal. Because there’s a lot of things I still want to do in life and I want to make sure that I don’t spend 10 years learning something where I could get proficiency in a couple months.

Systems to Achieve those Goals

Breaking Barriers

A lot of times, goals are set like: “Im going to run this many miles per week” or “I’m going to hit the gym X days a week”. But a lot of times too, we build up big barriers why we can’t do that.

Maybe it’s something like “Do 50 push-ups”. The problem with lists like this is the next thing you know you’re building up excuses why you can’t do it today. You’ll say things to yourself like “I’m wearing this polo shirt, and I’m going to get all sweaty doing push-ups, then I’m gonna have to take a shower”, and then this and that.

But if your list just said, “Do pushups.” then the barrier disappears. If you do even 1 push up, then you technically win. Right? But once you do 1 push up, you’ve broken the ice. Now you can do 50.

Reducing Friction

From a systems point of view, you need to remove the things that are going to clutter up the system. Look at the failure points of your system. Things that are going to make it harder for you to achieve your next tasks – you want to remove those and you want to add things that can make it easier.

Let’s say your goal is going to the gym. Just go to the gym. Even if you just set foot in there, and you did a couple of curls, you already won. But how do you make yourself do that in the first place? Well, you know you’re going to change clothes and bring your gym bag with you, right? Put the bag down where you know you’ll be walking. You will eventually and intentionally step over the gym bag reminding you that what you’re supposed to be doing is going to the gym.

Fun Fact: Apparently, within the first 10 days of the New Year, 90% of people have abandoned their goals. By the time this is posted, 90% of you have already abandoned your goals. Get back on it!

Related: Gary Vaynerchuk on New Year’s Resolutions

Dealing with Non-stop Phone Notifications

Gordon: For emails, I use Inbox. One of the cool things about this app is it can suppress certain messages from you. When I get stuff from Facebook or promotional messages from email lists I’m subscribed to, it doesn’t give me a push notification. Now if I look at the app icon, there’s a little badge there that lets me know there’s a message, but it’s not interrupting me with those things. If you’re getting an email from a friend or family, it prioritizes those things and the app will shoot you a notification for it. Overall, it’s been really good at hiding things that you don’t really need to be interrupting you throughout the day.

Richie: I found way too often, I check my iPhone for notifications. Maybe it’s a notification from our FB group. I’ll check it on the go and now, I can’t stop thinking about it. Because it’s on the phone and it’s with you all the time. When I get this email or a message or whatever it is, I get aware of it and I want to respond to it as fast as I can. If I’m doing something, I have to drop whatever it is because I’m thinking about it and I want to act on it. All because I went and checked it when I wasn’t ready to actually work on it. So it’s best to limit your time checking your phone for notifications.

Do Less, Be More

Do less, be more, and just do it now. Go execute today. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Always set up yourself to win.

Good luck with whatever goals you guys have set up and let’s continue the conversation on our FB group too. We’d love to hear back from you guys and what systems you have found to work well for you!

Etsy Jam Episode 35: 2016 Year in Review

In this episode, we celebrate 2016 in true Marmalead fashion – by the numbers! We go over some interesting stats from 2016 concerning Marmalead and Etsy and offer some peeks into when different seasons begin trending. Enjoy some insights and get ready to make 2017 your year! We’d love to have you as a guest on Etsy Jam this year too so hit us up at success at marmalead dot com!

Shops Helped

This is probably the one that means the most to Richie and me, and that’s the number of shops that we were able to help throughout 2016.

Personal Support

One of the other things that we pride ourselves on is our level of Personal Support that we provide. We’re not just some kind of closed-off tool that it’s really hard to get to people behind the scenes if you have any questions or stuff like that. We want to make sure that we are super accessible via emails and Facebook but one of the best ways to reach us is through the Contact Us button inside the app. Throughout 2016, we were personally able to help over 3,000 Etsy sellers which is awesome.

Forgotten Passwords

Also, in 2016 we had over 18,000 Forgotten Passwords. That’s just not good – that’s crazy! That’s 4 times more than 2015! Use Lastpass, guys!

Keyword Searches

Keyword Searches inside Marmalead. In 2016, we had 1.27M keywords searches which is 7 times more than 2015! That’s fantastic growth and we’d love to see this continue on for 2017 too. We want to get more people in the tool using it and more people getting meaningful information about SEO by doing keyword searches inside Marmalead.

Keyword Comparisons

Another feature we have is Keyword Comparison. If you’re an Entrepreneur inside Marmalead, you can easily compare up to 4 different keywords and see quickly which ones has higher Engagement, which ones have more Competition, and what the Price Spread looks like for the different keywords. Throughout 2016, we have almost a million comparisons done inside Marmalead between different keywords. It’s gotten 29 times more than 2015! We think it’s a super useful tool as you are trying to drill into which keywords you should be using inside of your tags and title.

Related: Get Found on Etsy with Marma-Meter

Total Searches

Recently, we just crossed the 3M keyword search mark total since Marmalead has been around! We think that’s awesome.

Top 5 Most Searched Keywords

New Features

Keyword Storm

It’s a way of brainstorming keywords for your listings based on a seed keyword. You throw a keyword at it and it will start coming up with a whole bunch of keywords for you. As you add more keywords into your bucket, new ones will pop up.

Listing Scores

Now, you can tie your shop to Marmalead. We will analyze every single one of your Etsy listings and give you a letter grade score for how that listing is performing with respect to SEO. Anything that impacts SEO gets factored into this grade.

Listing Details

You can drill in any one of those listings to see even more information about that listing. Things that don’t necessarily impact SEO but stuff that you might want to keep a close eye on. A lot of that has to do with descriptions – how long that is, how readable it is, and sentiment whether your description is leaning towards being positive or negative.

Entrepreneur Course Library

Entrepreneur's Course Library

If you’re an Entrepreneur on Marmalead, you’ll have access to a library of videos which we will constantly be adding to throughout next year going forward.

Related: The NEW Marmalead

Storms

We only introduced the Storm right at the beginning of November but just in those months, we’ve already had over 35,000 Storms generated by Marmalead users! It helped people find over 271,000 new keyword ideas.

Listings Analyzed

We talked about scoring listings. Over the past couple of months since this feature has been released, we’ve analyzed over 20 million listings for Etsy sellers!

Entrepreneur’s Course Library

Our course library has started small with only 2 courses out there so far (we plan on adding more as time goes by) but even just in those couple of months with those 2 courses – we’ve had over 735 people participate and seen those videos. We also thrown in an ebook in there. So check out the courses + the ebook!

2016 Top 5 Keywords with the Highest Engagement

What is Popular When?

Christmas

It’s good to know when things are starting to pick up on Engagement for different holidays. You can look at the graph above and see that Christmas starts to pick up a bit in September but really starting to ramp up in October and November. Expect lots of Christmas engagement during those months and then it tapers off a little bit in December.

Wedding

Wedding searches throughout the year are pretty constant. There’s not one part of the year that really jumps out above the others. We do have little peaks around August and May, and a little bit on January and February.

Mother’s Day

Very beginning of May. No surprises there. But the big lead up to that is in the first two months before that – March and April.

Father’s Day

Can’t forget the fathers! The big months for that are May and June.

Fourth of July

Common theme here. A couple of months ahead of time. June and May have the highest engagement right ahead of July.

For anything you’re considering – whether that’s Halloween or Valentine’s day – a good practice is to assume that the first couple of months leading up to that are going to be the best months to start working in those tags into your listings; so you can start showing up in people’s searches.

Shop Fitness Calculator

It’s another cool tool that Marmalead offers and you can find it here. It’s a free tool you can use to grade your whole shop.

Looking across the data from 2016 – we can see that on average, the average Etsy seller has 4,277 views per month across all their products.

In that same vein, the average seller sees about 39 sales per month across all their listings.

The really meaningful part is when we combine these two numbers together – we can figure out the conversion rate (an important number to keep in mind for any person doing e-commerce). The average conversion rate for an Etsy seller right now is about 0.9%. Etsy says to shoot for 3%, but the average that we collected from sellers seem to be about 1%.

2017 is Your Year

Set your goals, set your sights on what you want to hit this year – whether it’s a certain sales goal on your Etsy shop, whether it’s leaving your day job, whatever those goals happen to be, set those up now and make 2017 your year!

Go get after it. Don’t overthink it, don’t over-plan it, just go – take action. Do it.

7 Key Takeaways from the 2017 Etsy Search Updates

Etsy has just released an article which details plans for the 2017 Etsy search updates. Last year they acquired Blackbird Technologies – a machine learning company. The purchase caused a bit of a stir in the Etsy community and spawned countless questions and even more conjecture. But now we finally have some details about Etsy’s plans. Here are 7 key takeaways from the announcement:

1. Etsy and its sellers are a team

Right off the bat, Etsy makes a point of reminding sellers that when they are successful, Etsy is successful. Etsy knows that search updates and algorithm updates can cause stress for sellers and they want to help minimize that by reminding sellers that Etsy’s success depends on seller success. Etsy says:

"When you're successful, we're successful."

2. Watch for search bar updates

Etsy breaks their 2017 search focus areas into two groups: helping buyers find the right items and building better tools for sellers.  The first way they plan to help shoppers is by “getting them started with the right search terms.”  This is almost certainly a reference to their search bar suggestions which they’ve been providing shoppers for quite a while. As shoppers type in the search bar, Etsy provides suggestions from a pool of other recent search terms. In order to help shoppers get started, they will undoubtedly be providing more personalized search term suggestions right within the search bar to help each shopper begin with the best possible search term for them. Etsy says:

"getting them started with the right search terms"

3. Changes to the search results page

The next thing Etsy plans to do for buyers is to help them “navigate their results in meaningful ways.” This could partially be referring to new filter options for shoppers which Etsy covers later in the article. But this likely includes other changes as well. There are vast possibilities but this could include things like quick product views on the search results page to pull key listing information further forward. This could also include features like “suggested listings” based on the search term and personalized browsing history. Etsy says:

"navigate their results in meaningful ways"

4. More specific ways to describe listings

As part of their list of updates for sellers, Etsy announced that they will be providing new ways for sellers to “convey specific information” about listings. This will likely be tied to some of the upcoming search filter updates. This will allow sellers to fill in information which helps to differentiate their listings from others. Etsy says:

"convey specific information about your items"

5. New search filters

Etsy announces new search filters in 2017. Currently, shoppers can filter by category, location, handmade/vintage, price, color, and ordering options. New ways to filter results could include things like seller rating, downloadable/handmade/vintage, size, and item quantity. Some sellers are even hoping for the ability to filter by items with coupon codes or those which are on sale. Etsy says:

"new ways for buyers to filter and explore their search results"

6. Don’t freak out

Again, Etsy is sensitive to the apprehension that surrounds any updates to the flow that helps customers find products. They remind sellers that they’ll keep them up to date as changes are made and will be sure to provide actions that sellers can take to make sure their shops are in the best possible standing. Etsy says:

"We'll continue to update you when we make any permanent changes to search"

7. Did I mention Etsy and sellers are a team?

Just as they opened the article, Etsy closes it with a reminder how important their relationship with sellers is. The last thing they want to do is completely turn the system upside down that is working for so many sellers. Changes will be slow and careful and deliberate. Keep an eye out for updates, make the necessary changes to your shops and everything will be fine. Etsy says:

 So what does this mean for the future of Etsy Search and Etsy SEO?

As Etsy begins to take advantage of the specialties of Blackbird Technologies, they’re looking to deliver a more personalized and intuitive search experience for shoppers. So what does this mean for SEO strategies? The core components that affect rank aren’t likely to change anytime soon. Etsy will still draw from listings’ tiles, tags, and recency. The majority of the changes are around HOW shoppers will get to those results pages and how they will navigate them. There will be other factors that Etsy introduces which will affect rank but the core algorithm is unlikely to drastically change. What does this mean for you as a seller? Sit tight and keep doing what you know works until Etsy announces changes. There is no need to jump the gun and start guessing how to update your listings for changes that may or may not happen.

What does this mean for Marmalead?

Marmalead’s algorithms measure engagement with search terms. Etsy is changing how they help shoppers find the right search term. So measuring which keywords they arrive at and which keywords enjoy the best engagement is still just as important as it used to be. In fact, with the crippling of Google’s Keyword Planner and Etsy’s planned changes to the search bar suggestions, Marmalead is becoming even more valuable to sellers as the best Etsy SEO solution available.

For the latest interpretations of Etsy SEO and search updates, subscribe to the Marmalead Blog.

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Etsy Jam Episode 34: Awesome Phone Apps Part 2

This episode is part 2 of a 2 part series about the apps Richie and I love most on our phones. So if you haven’t heard part 1 yet, check out episode 33. In this episode, we continue to cover a wide range of solutions so stay tuned and find out about some more killer apps you may be missing.

News Apps


Gordon: For tech news, I tend to use Flipboard to keep up on app releases and other things and features that they put out.

Utility Apps


Gordon: I have Speedtest to be able to check network speed. There’s another one called Fast; which does the same thing but it’s built by the folks behind Netflix.

I have Google Home which allows me to control my Chromecast. I got Chromecast plugged in to a couple of my TV’s and it allows me to cast stuff from my phone really easily to the TV and it will work with things like Netflix. More and more apps are including it – NBC and SNL support casting now so you can play something in your phone and throw it up on your TV.

Richie: I have an app that controls my router. It’s been fairly useful for things like turning off network on an iPad that the kids are using.

As far as utilities, I have Hiya, and it’s a spam call identifier app. With iOS 10, it ties in to CallKit so you can block spam calls before it rings you.

I also use this app called Key Ring. It’s a place to store all those loyalty and membership cards that you get from shops. It is exactly as it sounds like – all the cards that you would keep on your keychain; except that you’ve digitized them all. Lastly, I got Contacts Sync. It allows me to flawlessly sync my contacts between iCloud and Gmail.

Games


Gordon: I have DuoLingo which is more like a gamified language learning. It’s really fun and I think they did a fantastic job with it. So if you guys haven’t checked out DuoLingo and if you ever have felt interest learning other languages other than your native tongue, I would suggest that you check it out. They do a great job of making it fun to learn a new language.

They also have another app that is called Tinycards. They’re basically like flipcards that you flip when you’re trying to study something.

I have a game here too that I wrote called Block Blasters. You can’t actually get it on the iTunes store anymore but you can still get it on Google Play Store. Lastly, I picked up Super Mario Run at the time it got released.

Productivity Apps


Gordon: I have Wunderlist as my go to to-do list. I have Trello on my phone too because we use Trello a lot. That’s where we manage projects and move stuff around.

Richie: I use Todoist as my go to to-do list. I also have this app called Mile IQ. If you have a business where you pick up supplies and make drop offs to customers, Mile IQ will automatically detect when you’re driving so you don’t have to remember to record your mileage. It’s useful if you do any driving in your business using your personal vehicle, Mile IQ makes that really easy.

Closing Thoughts


Since we’re talking about phones; the phone is a great tool when used well. It’s very very easy to clutter up your phone and I think that every once in a while, you need to take a serious hard look at what’s on your phone, what you’re doing with your phone, and if it’s serving the purpose you want it to.

Perfectly fine if you wanna use it to veg down on the couch. As long as it’s intentional though. Sometimes, it’s really easy to think you’re being productive on your phone and then find out that something particular is taking up your time.

Bury those distracting apps deep and make them harder to get to. Or uninstall them even. Keep the stuff that’s good for you in front.

Etsy Jam Episode 33: Awesome Phone Apps Part 1

This episode is part 1 of a 2 part series about the apps Richie and I love most on our phones. We cover a wide range of solutions from todo lists to photography and videography to relaxation and games. Stay tuned for this episode of Etsy Jam and find out about some killer apps you may not know about yet.

Weather Apps

Gordon: I like Weather Underground. It’s hyper-local which is what I like about it because I don’t end up with some inaccurate forecasts.

Richie: What I like about Weather Underground too are those webcams that they have in there. I can really see the weather because there’s an option to view nearby webcams. You can see if it’s a blue sky, or there’s snow on the ground, how much snow is there, or if it’s raining and those kind of stuff.

Chat Apps

Richie: I have Facebook Messenger. Family uses it and a good amount of random people I meet.

I have Snapchat too. There are couple of people that I talk to on there. Otherwise, I usually watch other people’s stories on Snapchat. My cousin is on there and she’s a flight attendant so I get to see the photos she took from different places in the world and that’s cool. I follow people like Gary Vaynerchuk, JLD from Entrepreneur on Fire, Alexis Ohanian from Reddit, and Justin Kan from Justin.tv and Twitch because they have some good stuff on there.

I also have WhatsApp. I have a handful of people I talk to on there. I have the default Messages on iPhone too for texting because a handful of people still use that. And then I have Signal. Signal is there for being the most obscure no-one-knows-about-it that you could possibly use for messaging.

Gordon: The other chat app that I have that Richie hasn’t mentioned yet, is Slack. Richie, Kevz, and I use Slack to talk as a team and it’s really convenient. It keeps everything organized for you – you can have different channels and things like that. It’s been a good solution.

Bonus app for Etsy sellers:

For you Etsy shops out there that maybe don’t want to put your mobile phone number, you can go ahead and get a Google Voice number and have people call that or make it ring you on your phone. Or maybe put it in Do Not Disturb if you don’t want to have people calling you on specific times of the day. It’s also a really easy way for you to put that extra touch point out there so if people really need it, they can give you a call. It has voice mail and all the regular features your phone already have; it’s just another number that you can throw around.

Music Apps

Gordon: I used to listen to a lot of podcast when I had my commute. I kinda have fallen off the podcast train since and I know I need to find a good point in my day where I can do that. I use Overcast for a really long time which I really like. Other music apps that I got is Serato Pyro. Serato Pyro is a fun one for anyone who is a music enthusiast and really likes the concept of the Genius feature in iTunes. Serato Pyro does that but it does it based on tempo. It’s almost like a DJ where you give it a list of songs and it will figure out the tempo of all those songs and feed them in order next to one another so that it smoothly transitions from one song to the next.

I’ve also got Amazon Music, Google Play Music, and Shazam.

Richie: I have Spotify which is in my home screen because I found it by far the best. I love their curated playlist and stuff. I think they really do a nice job of putting stuff together. They also have a bunch of playlists by mood and while I know a bunch of other services have those things too, I feel like Spotify nails it pretty well.

Movie and Entertainment Apps

Gordon: I have iMovie which I like. It’s good for manually editing videos but one of the really cool things that I like about iMovie is that they have some trailer presets that you can use. Just simply drop in your own footage and it will make a movie trailer sort of thing. I’ve done this a few times and it’s really fun.

I also have a cool one called Magisto. This is a cool app and I recommend you guys play with it at least or purchase their plan that they have with it. But it basically allows you to throw a bunch of videos or photos into a movie. It uploads your photos and footage to their servers and they go through it with their algorithm that figures out which are the most interesting parts of that footage is. Then it automatically edits all those pieces together for you and puts in a music that you choose. You also choose how long you want the clip to be and then it dumps out a movie for you at the end.

Richie: I have the Kindle app. I like to read on my phone because that’s what I have with me most of the time. I also use Pocket. Pocket is what you use when you find an article on the internet – whether it’s a blog post or a magazine or something. What you do is you save it to Pocket and this app strips out all of the distracting stuff like ads and just shows you the content. More importantly, this is the place where I put all these stuff for when I want to read something later.

Document and File Management Apps

Richie: I use two things. An app called Tiny Scanner so I can digitize paper documents. The other app is called Shoebox. Shoebox is a great little app for receipt retention. So pretty much anything I’m gonna need for tax related stuff; I scan them with Shoebox. Any business expenses are gonna get scanned in as well. They also have this optical character recognition that will extract the numbers off of it and identifies what it was, and where it’s for etc. I pay for that service just because it saves me a lot of time from not having to look at all the receipts and sort them out myself.

Photography Apps

Richie: Google Photos. I really like Google Photos. It does a really nice job of grouping things. It makes it really easy to make albums for me. They have a decent photo editing capabilities in there too. I like it and it’s good enough for me.

Gordon: I have a handful here. Simple DOF Calculator is one of them. If you take photos with a DSLR this could be handy for you. It basically helps you figure out what to set your aperture to on your camera if you’re doing manual shooting. It will help you calculate based on the kind of camera body you have, the lens type you have, what the focal length of the lens is, how far away your subject is – it will tell you where to set your aperture to get that nice blurry background which is called bokeh.

I also have Snapseed for editing photos which I used to love. Then there’s Prisma and it allows you to apply fun and artistic filters to things if you want to mess around. And then the last one I have under Photography is Lightroom. I’ve been a long time Lightroom user on my computer but on my phone, I recently snagged it because they just enabled RAW shooting on the iPhone 7 Plus so you can shoot in RAW mode. Most photographers will tell you to shoot RAW because it allows you to change photos with a lot more flexibility than you have when you’re shooting on Auto mode.

Security Apps

Gordon: Big ones for me under my security category would be LastPass and Google Authenticator. We’ve talked about LastPass in our Tools to Keep You Safe Online episode so if you guys haven’t seen or watched that yet, you should definitely check that one out. LastPass is a password manager basically and it’s super handy.

Google Authenticator allows you to do 2-Factor Authentication for your accounts. It’s another step when you log in to an account to help you lock down that account that if someone does get your password to your account, they won’t necessarily be able to log in as you because they are missing this piece of the puzzle. It’s pretty easy to use and pretty easy to set up.

Richie: I have LastPass but I don’t have Google Authenticator. I use something called Authy instead. The extra benefit of Authy is back ups. So if you switch phones or stuff like that, it’s much easier to transition to another device.

That wraps it up, but watch out for Part 2 of our Favorite Phone Apps!

Etsy Jam Episode 32: Awkward Holiday Party

Welcome to our extra special super awkward holiday party episode. We take a break from the super serious no nonsense talk you’re used to from Etsy Jam and offer some answers to questions which will help you get to know Richie and I better. If you like ugly sweaters, awkward pauses, uncomfortable ice breakers and all the other fantastic parts of holiday parties, stick around!

What’s your favorite part about working full time at home?

Richie – My favorite part is having the family right here around the house. I can eat breakfast with them without worrying about rushing out of the house before they wake up or being late to office in traffic.
I can eat lunch with them and not having to miss dinner because I’m stuck in traffic either. Probably the lack of having to drive around makes that really nice.

Gordon – Not having to commute is the first thing that comes to mind. It was a real pain. Honestly, I didn’t realize how much of a pain it was until I stopped making that commute every day.
The other thing I really like about working from home is being here while my son is growing up. It’s really cool because even if I’m not engaging with him all throughout the day because I’m working – I’m still around for when certain things happen like that first time he laugh, or smile, or starts to really say things, or does something silly. I’m in the house for those things so when they can happen, I can be there quickly instead of totally missing out on those things.

Most challenging part about working full time at home?

Richie – Work – Life separation. It’s hard to leave something at the office when you live in the office. The same space where I keep the books and the whiteboard and other work stuff is right here. I walk by it all the time. So if I have an idea, I wanna run in and do something with it. It’s really hard to disconnect from it.

Gordon – Along the same lines of what Richie was saying; it’s the same deal of wanting to be accessible and be involved – but at the same time, I also need separation. I also need to be able to focus on work stuff and get things done too. Part of the problem is my office being here in the house; if they have a toy that’s broken, they come in to my office and now I’ve got not only my work stuff but also personal things are coming in as well. That’s one of the challenges. It’s keeping that separation and it’s also tough to set expectations because I don’t want to have a rigid schedule since I always enjoy flexibility and variety.

Top 4 Most Recommended Books

What would you say are your top books that you recommend people to check out if they haven’t read them already?

Richie:

Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Its real focus is on the power of the present. Don’t worry about the past. Past is gone, past doesn’t exist. Future. Don’t worry about it because it hasn’t exist either. So to worry about anything aside from what your current reality is doesn’t make a lot of sense because you don’t know what’s gonna happen in the very next moment.

Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. The book is really not about working less, it’s about working smarter. So of the 40 hours a week you work, what’s the 10% that’s actually the most productive and the most valuable? The most valuable 4 hours of your entire week. You don’t have to go through the book and do everything. Use it as lessons but the point is still to look for those 10% of what you do to get 90% of the results and see how you can implement that in your life.

Running Lean by Ash Maurya. This is part of the Lean Startup series. It’s a way to de-risk business ventures early on. Or projects in general. The idea is basically validating and seeing if this thing (your idea) has legs before you go out and spend a bunch of time and money on it.

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. I feel like a lot of people get caught up when they have business ideas. They need inspiration and they need to know it’s okay. This book has those lessons in it – you look at something, and you take that idea and you realize that it’s okay to do it because you’re doing something that’s different.

Gordon:

StrengthsFinder by Tom Rath. This was one that my previous job recommended. The premise of the whole idea is that a lot of times people tend to see what their weaknesses are and work to improve their weaknesses. The whole idea behind StrengthsFinder is that you identify what your strengths are and then you make sure you are amping those up as much as possible.

The Mythical Man Month by Fred Brooks. The concept behind the book is that you can’t just throw more people at a problem to solve it. So if you do have an office job, or if you are in any kind of management type position – this is probably a really good book for you. It’s really interesting. It’s a quick read and I like it!

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty. The next ones are children books. Failure is okay. It’s okay to fail as long as you keep pushing forward especially if you have a passion at something. It’s a cool message that I don’t think often gets spoken about in children’s books and so I thought it’s a really cool one to share with kids. And it’s a good reminder for all of us.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. It’s a short story about a tree that just keeps giving and giving and giving until it has nothing left because it loves this little boy so much. He doesn’t really realize at all that the tree is sacrificing for him until later on.

Favorite spare time activities

Richie – I like to spend my time in the water. When I was in Cleveland, I love being on Lake Erie. I love boating as well and being at the beach. So back when I lived in Cleveland, Lake Erie would be my jam and when I was on Florida, loved being in the ocean. One of my favorite activities too is hiking in the mountains. There’s something about mountains that I find really calming and humbling at the same time.

Gordon – In true nerd fashion, I would say almost all that’s related to my computer. Whether it’s a side techy project or messing with Raspberry Pi things, any kind of Linux thing, and computer games too. I’ve got a little fun project that I’m doing right now and that is to build out my own home automation control security system that’s running on a Raspberry Pi. Messing with Philips Hue lights with their API to do some pretty cool things are one of my favorites too. Just random techy tech things like that.

Etsy Jam Episode 31: Joanna from EWDMarketing

In this episode, we are joined by Joanna from EWDMarketing. Joanna helps Etsy sellers connect to their target markets by honing in on the best titles, Tags, and Product Descriptions. She also sells Help guides and Shop Reviews through her Etsy shop. Stick around for the end of the show when she shares a special announcement with us!

How did Joanna got started on Etsy?

I started on Etsy doing handmade several years ago. By trade I am a contract seamstress and designer. Everything I’ve had has been online and Etsy has been a fantastic venue for selling my handmade products.

As I was doing contact work for a company based in North Carolina, they approached me at the end of January this year asking for some help with their SEO. By April we got serious about it and she laid out to me their goals that they want to double their sales from the previous year simply using SEO. So I jumped on and started helping them. By the end of July, they hit their sales of what they did last year! I’m sure they’re gonna do more than double their sales by the time they close the books for this year. I’m really happy that it worked and it was simply by doing SEO and by polishing things up and making everything relevant.

That is how EWDMarketing came to be! But I didn’t think anybody else was gonna use the service, I just felt that it was a God-given talent that I was able to discern this information on SEO. Marmalead has been at the core of this and once I was on my own and no longer working for that company, I had to get serious with my business. That’s how it evolved of how I have been able to help and market for other shops as well.

SEO Is Not An Overnight Success!

SEO takes time. It takes time to build this stuff up. It’s not like you’re gonna go a bunch of changes at once and then the next day you’ll see success.

Here’s a story from one of my past customers. I just finished doing some SEO for her. She came back to me and said:

Customer: It’s been 24 hours and I had no views, this didn’t work!”

Joanna: “No, it doesn’t work that way. I gave you some great SEO and you are on multiple first pages of search. You have to now give it time but there’s a lot of other factors as well. The reason that this company X did so great in such a short period of time is because they were well established. They already had a core business. They have people that are coming back for repeat sales. But what we did through SEO is we fine tuned it so we are really going for your target audience (which is what she was missing). And then when we fine tuned it and we were speaking the customer’s language and not our own, that’s when everything turned for them!”

That makes the difference. As we all know, SEO is only one piece of this big puzzle. You can’t depend on your SEO alone. You can have the best SEO, you can be on every first page, you can be in that coveted first spot that everybody wants to be, and still not get a view and not get a sale. There’s more that goes to that. You might not have the product people want. It might not be the color they want; the picture might not be inviting. There’s a lot of variables that go into it.

Etsy is like a Mall

I have this best analogy that I teach to my clients.

You picture your shop in Etsy. Your shop is one in Etsy. And there’s thousand of other shops. So picture the Mall of America. How big that place is and how many stories tall? You are just one shop in that mall. You have thousands of people funneling through but out of those thousands of people that are coming through, maybe only a handful are your customer. So you need to be able to have the advertising, the signage, and everything that’s going to attract them to come browse your store. It does not guarantee a sale, but it does get them there.

It’s the same thing with Etsy. Etsy is the Mall of America, or actually it’s the Mall of the World. We’re all these shops that are in there and what you’re doing with your SEO is by being as relevant as possible and making sure your most important keywords is at the first position of your title and working backwards to the least important ones then supporting it with your tags. Now what you’re doing is you are talking to your actual customer base. You’re filtering out.

The other panic that I always hear is “Oh my gosh, after you did my titles and tags, my views dropped. I used to get 300 views a day, now it’s only 30.” That’s what you want. Because now, you’re talking to your audience! Those may be 30 but those are 30 people that are really interested in your product. The other people weren’t. Those were the window shoppers that walk by your shop and happen to look in the window. They were not your customers, they just pass by and that’s the same thing.

How do you speak your customer’s language?

To speak a customer’s language takes time. It takes a little bit of dedication. I actually like to just get on Etsy and start searching because I sell internationally and that allows me to search in an international level. When you find somebody that’s from England or somebody that’s from Israel; you can go into their shops if they’re selling a similar product and see what they’re calling it. It’s right there and the information is readily available. But you’ll also find that using Marmalead when you use search, you’ll see words come up on the sides and in the Tag Cloud and you’ll discover some terminologies that’s being used some place else that is foreign to you but absolutely natural to them. That’s something you definitely want to be able to incorporate into the title.

The Thing About Renewing

Renewing bumps you back up but you also need to remember that the algorithm works interestingly now. Any new listing does not have a ranking and it takes 30 days for it to rank. Once it’s been ranked, it can take up to 30 days for a new title and tags to re-rank it. I’ve tested it with my own products to see and actually watch the dynamics of it. So no matter how good the titles and tags are, you may not stay on the first page for very long. If it’s been there and nobody has looked at it and it’s got no views or no favorites; it’s not gonna keep it there because Etsy knows that it needs to show customers something that they’re interested in. So if you’re going to be playing with your titles and tags, I always recommend that you just go in and might as well make a brand new listing and give yourself that shot. If it’s a new listing and you just wanna come back up, renew it if it’s within the 30 days. But my philosophy has been to create a new listing after 30 days if you’re not getting where you need to be and it needs an adjustment in the titles and tags.

But Algorithm Changes All The Time!!

People panic when they hear the algorithm is changing. You hear everybody get so upset and I used to be one of them too! Now I’ve learned and I look forward to it because what it does is it cleans everything up. It makes you go back in, you focus, and now you’re targeting your customer. They lay everything out for you and they tell you ahead of time what the changes are going to be. Make sure everything is relevant. Make sure you fill out all your sections in your shop. Make sure you do really good descriptions, don’t leave anything out. When you leave things out that affects your ranking as well. Every bit of your Etsy shop, every bit of your listing all has something assigned to it to get you to that perfect ranking score.

Hack search by putting your shop name as a tag!

I always say to my clients to make sure your shop name is one of your tags. It’s a lot easier to tell somebody to head on to Etsy and type your shop name. That’s it. All your products are gonna come up. You’re on the first page of search and nobody else is there, it’s just you!


Joanna’s Special Promo!

I know this time of year money is tight, people are looking to get an advantage; you’re trying to get out there, you’re trying to get some sales, you might have some products that have been invisible for a long time and so what I wanted to offer everybody is a 40% off anything within my EWDMarketing shop. You can use my coupon code MARMALEAD128 and this is good for 40% off for a week. It’s good for anything in the shop, shop reviews, product descriptions, title and tag revisions, any of the downloads that I have in there; it’s all there for 40% off!

Etsy Jam Episode 30: Tara from MarketingArtfully

In this episode, we talk with Tara from MarketingArtfully. Tara is a total SEO guru so we’re super excited to chat with her this week. She talks about pinterest, category pages, knowing your customer and how she uses Marmalead to plan for estate sales. Stick around till the end when Tara shares her Vintage Seller eBook with everyone! Enjoy!

Meet Tara


I have been doing Marketing since 2001 in Web SEO. There was almost no Google then, it was Yahoo! I have done marketing for realtors, authors, and Etsy people for years. A year and a half ago, I had the idea that I should sell digital products and the easiest way to do that right at the time was through Etsy. That’s my PaperlyPeople shop. Hopefully by the end of this season, I get to top that 1k sales mark which is the goal for me. Selling digital is awesome. It’s very low maintenance and I think Etsy does an amazing job with it.

What brought you into selling vintage?

I just like the fact that each one is a different item. I personally love that because then every one is a different marketing thing. Figure out who would buy this and what can you say that would make somebody buy it.

The thing I sold today for $16.50 was a vintage pewter chalice and I tried to figure out who would buy pewter chalices. I found out that people who attend renaissance festivals and people who play Dungeons & Dragons are interested in these things. For me, that’s kind of interesting! I love marketing and so each one is a little marketing opportunity.

Tips for Vintage Sellers?

You have so many opportunities for people to find your store. I think as a vintage seller, your store matters a lot. Your categories matter a lot. How you hook your stuff together matters a lot.

What people who are selling vintage have to realize is that people who buy vintage is buying an experience. They’re not buying a product. They’re not buying a pair of 40 year old scissors because they think it is going to work well.

Another thing vintage sellers have to do is make sure that they know what is selling in their store. Because if you don’t, you can get way out of sync with that.

Dealing with OOAK items

One of the things that people have the most trouble with SEO is one of a kind items. I have lots of things in my store that I’m able to find lots of. Switch plate covers for example. Everywhere I go, I look for switch plate covers. I dig around in ratty old sheds and find switch plate covers because they’re not that OOAK. I already have a listing, I don’t have to look it up, and I’ve done the research. So it is possible as a vintage seller to do multiple things – they’re not just going to be exactly the same.

How do you list multiple OOAK listings?


What I tend to do is I have 8 row of switch plates. I have a big stack of them and so I tend to copy the description (not re-list) of the ones that have sold. I figured that if it sold, it was good enough to be found in Etsy search so why not copy that one?

I also like to have my switch plates done in all different SEO and this is where Marmalead comes in. I’m from Pennsylvania and we call them ‘switch plate covers’ – I couldn’t think of anything else you would call it except ‘switch plate covers’ – then I came to find out everybody else in America calls them ‘light switch covers’!

So when I use Marmalead, I started changing some of those listings and including light switch covers as keywords. I started selling a lot more of them. My store is highly ranked even for ones that I just put up because I have lots of them.

MORE Tips for Vintage Sellers!

I use Marmalead every time I go to the auction. Today at the auction, I have a list of around 40 things that I would be willing to buy. Then what I do is I go to Marmalead and go to Keyword Comparison tool. For example, ‘salt cellars’ average at around $29, 14 views per week, and there’s almost 4,000 competing listings. Marmalead said that it’s okay but the competition is too high.

Because I already have some, I’ll probably get more but I wouldn’t necessarily pay up too much for it. I would buy them at $10 for 10 of them but if I can’t get them for that amount, I am not going to pay $50 for 10 of them because I know I can’t make my money back.

Then there are duck decoys. To my surprise, looking at Marmalead, they’re all green all the way down! So I bought the duck decoys! They average $65, and get 4.4 views per week. It might not look like much but that’s okay because there’s only 1,900 competing products for them.

I also hear all the time from other seller to be on the lookout for belows. I think that there is some valuable lows, if you have nothing else to do, sit there and search for vintage stuffs and see if you could find things that Marmalead says it’s good. Do your research ahead of time and when you get there, you’re already armed with all the data that you need to be able to make a decision based on price.

Pinterest!

As a vintage person, you need to start looking at Pinterest and figuring out what human beings are pinning. It would tell you how to categorize stuff in Etsy. What I did was I went and searched ‘bathroom’ and underneath ‘bathroom’, they have a whole bunch of little categories like ‘decor’. Then they had ‘storage’ under bathroom and ‘organization’ under ‘storage’. When you’re sourcing, ask yourself things like: “Is this something that I could put into ‘bathroom storage’?” Because you can simply share all those pins on Pinterest and have a whole another sales channel just pulling in to your store.

The other cool thing is when you do that search on Pinterest, you can check your pins and other people’s pins as well. So I went in and did that today and I was horrified because I don’t have my stuff done well enough to show up on search. That’s one of the ways that you could see how you’re doing! I know that it’s a marketing channel because Pinterest has a metric ton of data that tells you how you as a person categorizes things.

I sell Vintage, how do I find my target audience?

First off, my God given talent is that I can figure out who’s going to buy what. Let’s take a knob for example. This isn’t a vintage knob but it looks like something you’d see in Alice in Wonderland. So you have to figure out who would like something that’s a little whimsical. It could be for a child, or nursery, or it could be for somebody who has a craft room, or an art room. So what you want to do is you would sit down and think about that person. Think of the adjectives that you can use to describe it because I do think that we need to have really heavy SEO on the front end of your listing so that they can easily find it. Think about that person and what he/she might be looking for.

How do you write descriptions for Vintage items with a broad target audience?

People who buy vintage – they’re not buying anything practical. If you need a sandpaper, you’re not going to buy a 40 year old sander; you’re going to go to Home Depot. So when I write my descriptions, I’m not trying to attract any of those people. I’m trying to attract the people who want something different.

I’m not trying to convince anybody that it has a value, I’m just trying to tell them what I feel the value is and why I loved it first. If you’re selling a necklace, a ring, or something that you’re making – you are trying to compete against millions of other people and you’re trying to make something that they want. Vintage is already made and it’s already been loved by somebody else who obviously cared about it enough to have it in their house and keep it for 40 years. You kinda have to find the person who feels the same way you do!

  • One of the things in my description is that I tell a story. They might ask “Do you know the history of this item?” and I say “Yes, I got it on a home of a lady who is a huge collector of bunnies. And she have the neatest etc..” I tell a story about her. Then I state the dimensions of it and also the condition of it. And I always tell them exactly the condition of it.

Shop Sales Momentum has been confirmed!

Etsy confirmed it in one of their discussions and they said that there is a performance factor in ranking. They didn’t say what exactly it was but performance factor = engagement. From what we’ve heard from various shops – if you have a listing that has been selling; it will get bumped up!

The Vintage Seller eBook

Tara is offering up a free book for vintage sellers! If you’re interested in picking up this ebook, you can do so by going to MarketingArtfully. For anyone who’s interested, go check it out. It’s a really nice book that Tara put together. She put a lot of thought into it and a lot of her expertise goes into this book so if you are a vintage seller, it’s a fantastic asset to have! Plus, it’s FREE!

Get Your eBook Here!

Etsy Jam Episode 29: Monette from DigitalPapercrafting

In this episode, we talk with Monette from DigitalPapercrafting and ShinyDesigns.  In fact, Monette’s first shop, ShinyDesigns has been around since 2005 – pretty much the dawn of Etsy. Stay tuned to hear all about Monette’s journey, lists, clutter, fan mail, the creative process, criticism and a quick discussion about Etsy SEO.

Meet Monette

Hi, I’m Monette from DigitalPaperCrafting and ShinyDesigns. I’ve done a lot of things, one of which was that I had a local retail store. That was before people bought things on the internet – it was in the early 90’s! The internet was there and it existed but we didn’t have e-commerce.

I moved on from selling retail and became a CPA for awhile before Etsy came out in 2005. I saw right away when it came out in Beta that I might use it one day. Early on in 2006 or 2007 I used to sell quilt patterns. I sold them wholesale for awhile and some of them are on Etsy. I also moved on to do some writing and been able to publish 3 books! The last few years, I have come back to Etsy and I started a digital shop and that is going pretty well. Also, I came back to my other shop Shiny Designs to get it going like it should have been in the first place.

When I first started digital paper crafts, it was right before Etsy started offering digital downloads. A friend of mine encouraged me to do it and I remember I used to use a third party digital download software because at the time, you had to get their email and send them your files. Thankfully, Etsy came out with their hosting where they host your files for you. Because if they didn’t, I probably would not have kept selling digital arts – it was just too much hassle!

What was Etsy like back then?

I’ll tell you one thing from Etsy from the beginning, they’ve made good progress from the start. It was a new company way back. But man, the back-end of it still looks about the same. They changed some things like that new Listings Manager and a few but some of the other stuff are just old, almost vintage! It’s been that way since!

What are the other places online that you’ve setup shops with?

I have an Amazon Handmade account right now. I have not built it out because you know, there’s only so many hours in a day and I’ve proven that I tend to go from project to project. This is my biggest downfall as I quickly get interested in the next shiny thing.

How do you structure your time?

It dawned on me that working at the computer for long periods tended to make me tense, fidgety, and anxious. This isn’t good for me! So I started limiting it to an hour or two at a time. I actually had to set up a timer because you can get lost in it! It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been doing that and I find that I’m spending less and less time at my computer.

I also like to do a short to-do list. It’s not long, maybe about 6 items and some of it are easy so they get crossed-out super fast. There’s also a Today list. Like today, I wanted to do some gift listings for Christmas in my Etsy shop. I find that having a Today list tends to keep me from just getting lost in checking Facebook, etc.. It keeps me a little bit more on the task at hand.

Fan Mails

I get some emails from customers and I call them fan mails. Most of the time I get things like “I really like your work!” so I always respond to that (because it would be rude not to!). I keep those in a little folder in my inbox that says “Fan Mail”.

Criticizing your own Work

I don’t teach art but I have taken a class here and there. I remember people always looking at their work and criticizing it. They see little imperfections in their work because they are just so close to it!

Back off! I tell them to back off because you’re never gonna be finished. No one’s gonna be viewing that piece of art, or that painted wall, or that stained woodwork from 6 inches away! They’re gonna be 3 feet or better. So back off already. It’s amazing how changing your perspective and backing off will do for how good something looks. And don’t point out the errors. Just don’t do that!

If you’re too familiar with it, you’re gonna know every single thing that went wrong. Don’t tell people your mistakes. I’m not saying to put work out that has mistakes in it necessarily. There’s that balance between “I gotta make it perfect” which means you’ll never be finished or I have to make it “good enough” to release to the world. Make it good enough, with good quality, and have standards.

Handling Criticisms

Criticisms seems to be another thing that seems to undo creative folks when it comes to “Is my work good enough?” Critics of your work are everywhere. I mean everywhere. Some of them are well-meaning, some of them are completely thoughtless, and some of them are outright malicious. There’s that and also the question of how to take criticism.

If you don’t know how to take criticism, I would argue that you are really not ready to be able to put work out there and to let it go in the world. You’re gonna have to be able to make something, create it, give it life, and let it go. That’s what you do. You have to release it into the world to fend for itself and it WILL get criticism. There are only a few ways to deal with that – you can either completely ignore it (which is not helpful) or look at the criticism you got and ask yourself:

  1. Where did it come from? Who criticized you? Was it your snarky sister-in-law? If the source is someone who actually has some bearing of knowledge in your subject, maybe you should listen.
  2. You have to look at the meat of the criticism. I have had some really ugly criticism of some of my work. Some of it has merits, some of it are baseless. So you have to look at the criticism and look at the part of it that you agree or disagree with. That will bring you to a point where you can take the criticism that you’ve got and then make a plan to address the weaknesses.

That gets you to taking criticism and taking it for what it’s worth. Not blowing out of proportion and not dismissing it entirely.

It’s like basically taking all kinds of criticism and making it constructive whether or not it’s intended to be constructive in the first place.

Tips on Writing Copy

List your features and your benefits. For example:

Features = Benefits

Recycled Materials = it’s green and you’re helping the Earth.
All-in-one Kit = you don’t have to go buy anything and saves you time.

That’s how I do it. Sort of a mechanical approach. Feature Feature Feature, then Benefit Benefit Benefit.


Tips on Finding Keywords

A lot of people struggle with this. When I think of something, I’m just naturally not going to think of searching for something the same way that everybody else in the world is gonna be searching for it. Or the same way my customers are gonna be searching for it. It helps a lot to ask that exact question and ask people how they would search for it. Show them a picture of something you put together and ask “What would you type in to Google to find this?”

In Marmalead there’s also a Rock Your Photos Report so if you’re interested, these gets sent out to people who do shop on e-commerce. We ask them to describe how they would search for it. It’s a cool way of generating a bunch of ideas of how people might look for something that you might not even considered.

You can also send it out to people you know on Facebook to get the same kind of response and that’s a great place to start if you really don’t know where to start. Then you can take those keywords into the Storm feature inside Marmalead and see where it goes from there. This is a good way to attack this problem.

Why Renewing Matters

I think the reason they give so much weight to freshly renewed listings is because it’s a way of distinguishing who is really committed and who’s not. What they do is that they put a little money on it. 20 cents is not a lot. It can add up but it’s not a lot.

You’d be surprised how many people are opposed to spending that 20 cents. You know what, it’s between being way over here at the bottom where no one’s going to see me and spending 20 cents and popping up at the top where I could actually be purchased. What people don’t realize is that placement where you might renew your way to stay at the top for awhile is that once you start to get some sales momentum, you’ll stay there. Every time you sell you’re gonna get renewed and secondly, once a listing is doing well – you can go from ranking really well on a less competitive keyword to rank on just about any keyword. It’s all possible because for Etsy, you have a proven track record. These are things we’ve observed, heard from shops, and then also Etsy admins have confirmed!

Why Some People Don’t Get the Results They Were Expecting

Sometimes people would come to us and say “Hi, I’m on this page and I’m ranked but I’m not getting the views I am expecting.” But if you go and look at that search, you’ll see that their listing images are not as engaging as the other ones. It’s not standing out, it’s not really popping off the screen, it’s not screaming ‘Click me!’ And if people aren’t clicking it, Etsy will remove it. For those that have been in retail, if something is taking prime real estate in your shelf and people are not touching it, it goes to the back of the store! There are other factors at play and all that other stuff is important too because if you don’t do the SEO fundamentals, then you won’t even be considered!